The Key To Impeaching Donald Trump Does Not Lie in Russia
The story of Donald Trump’s ties to Russia — both personally and with his campaign — has been the main topic of conversation on both sides of the aisle. Democrats and liberals continue to push for an in-depth investigation while Republicans and conservatives scoff, but no matter what side you find yourself, it has become a story too big to ignore.
While the Russia scandal (which I refuse to lazily refer to as Russiagate) receives all the attention, Trump continues to commit impeachable offenses almost daily by refusing to divest from his brand. These stories aren’t as sexy as Russian espionage, but his numerous violations of the Emoluments Clause still represent the best hope for ridding the country of Trump.
When approached practically, it just makes sense. The Russia story is extremely deep and complex, likely spanning years and maybe hundreds of different actors. Proving direct relationships will be extremely difficult and could take years.
On the other hand, proving Trump is profiting — both foreign and domestically — as a direct result of his office is relatively simple.
The Kuwaiti government moving its National Day celebration from the Four Seasons to Trump Hotel in D.C. under political pressure.
Saudi Arabia picking up the check at the same D.C. hotel the Kuwaiti government was pressured into using.
For all the talk of Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago and the money it costs taxpayers, what’s more concerning is the price of membership doubling from $100,000 to $200,000 after Trump’s election victory. That extra $100,000 clearly comes solely from Trump’s status elevating the demand, and therefore the value, of the membership.
Mar-a-Lago perhaps presents the most obvious way Trump is profiting from his elected office.
This is all without mentioning the odd coincidence that he shows up at his golf course with the press as it nears a date in which it will hold a tournament or using his aide to talk up his daughter’s brand on national television.
Trump is clearly using the presidency for profit. Even if we accept the argument that “fair market” value transactions are perfectly legal, it is easily argued foreign governments using Trump hotels or awarding trademarks out of the clear blue is done to curry favor with the president.
The Emoluments Clause was added to the constitution specifically to prevent such transactions.
What’s more, the violations are easily proved. Simply following the money leads any objective observer to the same conclusion. Russia, on the other hand, will take much more time to prove. That’s not to say it isn’t important or should take a back seat, but if Trump is so willing to openly violate the Emoluments Clause, then that should be the focus for impeachment.
Look to the case of Al Capone to understand the argument a bit better. The police knew Capone was a murderer and mob boss, but proving it in court would have taken far too much time. Instead, they went after him for a lesser offense — tax evasion.
While a few murder convictions would have been better, it served the same purpose: get a dangerous man out of power and remove his ability to do any more harm.
While the Russia scandal will likely be proved in time, violations of the Emoluments Clause can be proved today, and the main focus must be immediately removing Trump’s capability to do any more harm.